Tuesday, September 28, 2004


It seems that the ambition to become an artist is either a dirty little secret or a badge of pride. It all depends on the individual. Too many people seem to like to wear their dream on their sleeve, working their latest idea into every conversation. “This is something I wish to explore in my poetry.” “Last year I began work on a screenplay that deals with this very subject.” And so on. Jesus, I remember once eating a bagel at a coffee shop with a coworker and somehow he managed to take that experience and use it as a springboard for telling me, in excruciating detail, how it relates to a song on his demo tape.

I am no different inasmuch as I have similar ambitions. Yes, as dull as it may be, my confession is that I write. I have, in the past two years, cranked out a ridiculous amount of writing, all of it in rough draft form and little of it very good. It feels better making this confession via cyberspace than in the flesh, as I cannot blush in a blog. I mention this because I am sure there are scores of others like me who consider their ambition to be a disease and thus do not share their secret with many. A symptom of this disease: we hate it when anyone else expresses his or her ambition. Just about everyone I know is inclined toward creativity, with varying degrees of potential and skill. I have many friends who write, a few who want to make films, many who want to act, one who writes comics, and many, many of them are frustrated musicians. And they keep at it and they pray and they do what they can. Or do they?

To be sure, some of this gaggle of would-be artists have the dream but not the drive. Lazy artists are nothing new. I have meet hundreds. It is easier to put in minimal effort and lay claim that the world just doesn’t understand your vision than it is to actually work on your art.

But I digress.

So I got outed over the weekend. My friend Mike asked me to help him with a script idea. I agreed, with slight trepidation because (1) I work full time and go to school at night, (2) I have my own “projects” I am working on, and (3) I have never written a script. Mike seems to think I could be helpful. He mentioned something about my sense of humor and how it would be perfect for his story. I don’t get it, as my sense of humor seems to work only if one wishes to clear a room.

So we were discussing the story in an informal “script meeting” (hahahahaha) with this girl Mike wants to be in his movie. She got a phone call and told her friend that she was with the two screenwriters she knew. I suddenly felt ill. Mike turns to me and says something along the lines of, “Man, doesn’t that feel good to hear!” Ugh.

I don’t know, I suppose it is rooted in not wanting to be a total flop. If you don’t try, you can’t fail. Or, if you never let anyone know you are trying, no one will witness your failure. I would have been happy writing my half-assed fiction and accumulating a stack of rejection letters. But I figure it is time to admit to one and all who might give a damn: I write. I am guilty. I am so ugly and ambitious and full of dreams that may very well fade like smoke in the air. I am no better than anyone else. I fear I have no originality, nothing to say, yet I continue to try and say something. I am as vain and lazy as the next guy. I am terrified of being seen in the same light as those pompous artists I despise yet I am secretly intimidated by them and seek their approval. I despise them for their marginal talent. If any of my writer pals got published, I would immediately hate them as well. I am petty.

Okay confession over. Stay tuned for chapters from my novel… have I told you all about my novel?